"Memory Leak" Dev Log #1
For the last two months, I’ve been casually dropping hints that I was working on a game. Well, more like I had an idea for a game but wasn’t actually doing much. We’ve all been there, right?
The idea for this game came from two places - the first being when I was at work and doing some application stress testing and checking for, you guessed it, memory leaks. I wanted to get a better understanding of what memory leaks were and how they actually happened so I looked into how G1 garbage collection worked in the JVM.
After reading about some funny sci-fi sounding terms used in G1 garbage collection like “par eden,” “survivor space,” and “eden space” I found myself thinking this is like Hunger Games but for memory. Then after thinking about it for a while I thought hey wouldn’t it be cool and kind of scif-i dystopian if you had to do memory management but for your brain?
The idea didn’t really cross my mind again until I stumbled upon May Weather Rainbow Jam 2017. Somewhere between thinking of game ideas and doing more memory optimization at work I thought of the concept for Memory Leak.
So what exactly is Memory Leak?
I’ve been describing Memory Leak as a post-cyberpunk murder mystery visual novel with “memory management” game mechanics. I say “memory management” as I initially wanted to make it as close to real memory allocation as possible, even going as far as re-reading my old notes from college to get a better understanding.
Then I remembered how much I hated that class and wouldn’t want to put players through that kind of suffering.
With some help from my buddy Tom, I came up with Memory Leak’s current mechanics.
The main mechanic is called MEMENTO, a neural implant where memories are stored in regions of the brain and “encrypted” either by MEMENTO itself or by its owner. The player chooses specific regions of the brain to view stored “memories,” moves them to a module in MEMENTO called Gestalt, which acts as a sort of inventory system. When the player has specific memories in Gestalt, it can trigger events or new lines of questioning.
In the world of Memory Leak, Augmented Reality contacts have just been introduced to society. Many use them the same way we use our smartphones but with the functionality integrated in their contacts. Think of it like Google glass but for your eyes. People also use them to help cope with anxiety and mental illness through special AR modules.
You’ll be playing as Sibyl, a recently retired investigator that specializes in Augmented and Artificial Reality crimes solve a string of murder-suicides coerced by a serial killer called RUBY. The suicides have been linked to users having trouble integrating with their Augmented Reality contacts.
You’ll be using Sibyl’s MEMENTO module to sort her memories, some of which might be encrypted, to trigger certain lines of questioning and events. Going with May Weather Game Jam’s theme of color, Sibyl has voice-to-color synesthesia, in which she "feels" colors from people’s voices. I myself have grapheme-color synesthesia, in which I feel colors from long strings of numbers. This will play an important part in the game’s plot and mechanics but I can’t say much else without spoilers ;)
I’m currently in the works of figuring out how to implement MEMENTO in Ren’py while also working with Ruben Ferdinand on a prequel. My goal is to have a very rough version of MEMENTO figured out by the end of this month and hopefully a nice playable demo by the end of the year!
That’s all for this log - I’ll be talking more about how I’ve been working on MEMENTO’s mechanics in Ren’py in the next log!